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Design and control of magnetic soft robot for surgical applications


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Monday 15 March 2021
Project start date
Friday 1 October 2021
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Source of funding
Doctoral training partnership
Professor Pietro Valdastri
Additional supervisors
Professor Russell Harris
School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

The candidate will join the multi-disciplinary research team in the Science and Technology of Robotics in Medicine (STORM) Lab at the University of Leeds, where we strive to improve the quality of life for people undergoing soft-tissue surgery and flexible endoscopy by creating miniature and non-invasive robots.<br /> <br /> This includes the creation and investigation of miniature capsule-like or tentacle robots to work inside the human body. At the STORM Lab, we are designing and creating soft and compliant robotic devices that can be used within the human body to detect and cure diseases in a non-invasive way. We have a proven track record of developing our students into world-leading innovators and leaders in technology. Our alumni have gone on to global tech industry, such as Apple and Intuitive Surgical, or continue to develop other areas of research in leading groups in the field of medical robotics. <br /> <br /> This vacancy is created by a major EPSRC grant awarded to the University of Leeds, which aims to define a new generation of surgical tentacle-like robots that can be magnetically guided within the human body by magnetic fields.<br /> <br /> The candidate will work on the EPSRC granted project EP/V009818/1 (New minimally invasive technologies for the treatment of pancreatic cancer) aiming at exploring innovative processes to manufacture patient-specific intelligent magnetic tentacles, modelling their behaviour under an external controllable magnetic field and filed gradient, and testing them in realistic anatomical models.<br /> <br /> The fabrication and manufacturing elements will be conducted in collaboration with Professor Russell Harris of the Future Manufacturing Processes Research Group at the University of Leeds. Activities during the PhD will also include analysis and dissemination of research results into high-quality peer-reviewed scientific publications (target AAAS Science Robotics), travel for research meetings with our collaborators, presenting research results at international conferences worldwide, and participating in outreach activities to engage the broader community in science and engineering.<br />

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is <em>Design and control of magnetic soft robot for surgical applications</em>&nbsp;as well as&nbsp;<a href="">Professor Pietro Valdastri</a>&nbsp;as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applications are invited from candidates with a Master's degree in a relevant engineering or science degree such as (but not limited to) robotics, mechanical engineering, mechatronics, robotics, electronic engineering, and biomedical engineering. Desirable background experience may include topics of rapid prototyping, digital manufacturing processes, computer aided design, and modelling and simulation are highly desirable. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Doctoral College Admissions prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p>A highly competitive EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship consisting of&nbsp;<strong>&nbsp;</strong>the award of fees with a maintenance grant of &pound;15,285 (currently for session 2020/21) for 3.5 years.&nbsp;</p> <p>This opportunity is open to all applicants, with a small number of awards for Non-UK applicants limited by UKRI to 1.&nbsp; All candidates will be placed into the EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship Competition and selection is based on academic merit.</p> <p>The&nbsp;<a href="">UKCISA</a>&nbsp;website will be updated in due course with information regarding Fee Status for Non-UK Nationals starting from September/October 2021.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information regarding your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions by&nbsp;email:&nbsp;<a href=""></a>, or by telephone: +44 (0)113 343 5057.</p> <p>For further information regarding the project, please contact Professor Pietro Valdastri by&nbsp;email:&nbsp;<a href=""></a>, or by telephone: +44 (0)113 343 5057.</p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>
<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>